What She Did at 84, Many Never Do

Janet Fein felt a sociology degree was 'substantial'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 16, 2018 2:10 PM CST
Woman Gets College Degree at What Age?
In this Dec. 10, 2018 photo, Janet Fein, 84, poses for a photo in Richardson, Texas. Fein completed her bachelor's degree and will graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas with the winter undergraduate class.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

After raising five kids and retiring at age 77 from her secretarial job, Janet Fein couldn't be blamed for finally relaxing, but that's not her, the AP reports. Fein, now 84, went to back to school and will accomplish a long-held goal this week when she graduates from the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor's degree. "I didn't have anything to do in retirement and I didn't think that playing bingo was up to my speed," says Fein, who majored in sociology because she felt it was "substantial." She says she enjoyed all the reading and writing papers. "With each class I already knew a lot, but then I also learned a lot. And that made me happy," she says.

People 65 and older make up less than 1% of US college students. In 2015, they accounted for about 67,000 of about 20 million college students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. "Keeping oneself active and vital and giving yourself something to look forward to like that is just a really positive move," says Dr. Carmel Dyer, executive director of the UTHealth Consortium on Aging at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Fein took part in a state program that allows people ages 65 and older to take up to six credit hours for free at public universities in Texas. About 2,000 people took advantage of the offer last year, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Click for the full story.

(More college degree stories.)

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